Biography of Abdul Hamid II | Sultan of Turkey

Biography of Abdul Hamid II: – Sultan of Turkey. Thirty-fourth Ottoman sultan of the dynasty of Osman, he held the throne between 1876 and 1909. He headed an autocratic government, although he was also the main driver of the Tanzimat (reorganization) of the Ottoman administration.

Biography of Abdul Hamid II

  • Born:- 21 September 1842, Topkapı Palace, Istanbul, Turkey
  • Died:-   10 February 1918, Beylerbeyi Palace, Istanbul, Turkey
  • Children:- Şehzade Mehmed Abdülkadir, Ayşe Sultan
  • Spouse:-  Naciye Hanım (m. 1904), Behice Hanım (m. 1900
  • Grandchildren:-  Mehmed Orhan, Osman Nami Osmanoğlu
  • Siblings:-  Mehmed VI, Mehmed V, Murad V, Seniha Sultan

It was the second son of the Ottoman Sultan Abdulmecit I. It happened in the throne the 31 of August of 1876 to its brother Murad V, who had been declared incapable by mental illness by Midhat Baja. Pressed by the latter, Abdul Hamid was forced to approve the first Ottoman constitution on December 23, 1876. The Magna Carta, which recognized him as the caliph of all Muslims, established the indivisibility of the Empire, the creation of a Senate and a House Of deputies, the inviolability of individual freedom and freedom of education.

The senators would be appointed directly by the sultan and would have a character for life, while the members of the Chamber of Deputies would be chosen by secret scrutiny every four years. The sultan, by a decree promulgated on September 10, announced the beginning of the Tanzimat, the name with which the movement was known that sought the reorganization of the Ottoman state.

Its reign was characterized by the continuous clashes with the main foreign powers that, taking advantage of the weakness of its government, tried to influence in the internal politics of the Ottoman Empire. In 1876 ordered the massacre of the Bulgarian rebels, which provoked the indignation of the international powers. In 1877-78, the second Russo-Turkish war broke out, ending the unfavorable Treaty of San Stefano, whose agreements were ratified by the treaty signed at the Berlin Congress in 1878.

These two agreements marked the beginning of the disintegration of the Ottoman Empire in Europe. Cyprus was assigned to England, Thessaly and the Aegean to Greece and Albania to Montenegro. This situation was taken advantage of by the sultan to give a turn to his policy and, soon, began to adopt measures of reactionary and absolutist court to promote a confessional policy and panislamica. In February of 1878 suspended the Constitution, dissolved the Parliament and removed of the government to Midhat Baja that was assassinated by order of the sultan in 1883.

The Sultan used pan-Islam to consolidate his power. Proclaimed defender of Islam, and to win the favor of the faithful built the Hiyaz railway, which linked Anatolia with Medina, in order to favor the pilgrimages to Mecca. He tried to exalt the Muslims who lived in the colonies of the European powers, in order to create these problems within their territories. Fearing for his life, he ruled for nearly forty years locked in his palace at Yildiz in Constantinople, aided by a violent secret police.

He made an approach to Germany, a country that helped him reorganize the finances and the Turkish army. The Germans, in compensation, received the concession for the construction of the railway that united Istanbul with Baghdad. Relations between Turkey and Germany further tightened in 1899 with the visit of Kaiser Wilhelm II to the Ottoman Empire. Its reign suffered a heavy blow in 1885 when the union of Bulgaria and the Eastern Rumelia took place.

He showed his cruelty in 1895 when he ordered the killings of Armenians. This action earned him the nickname of the “Red Sultan.” The slaughter of Christians in Crete in 1897 caused Greece to declare war on Turkey. The catastrophic result of the Greco-Turkish War (1897) led to the emergence of the political party of the Young Turks, which was joined by a series of annoying revolutionaries with continued territorial losses.

From 1900 onwards, it promoted a profound educational reform. It established numerous professional schools and founded what later would be the University of Istanbul. It created throughout the Empire a network of primary, secondary and military schools. He reorganized the Ministry of Justice, and extended a system of railroads and telegraphs throughout the empire. Abdul Hamid II suffered in 1905 an attack of which he was unscathed when he went to the mosque to pray. In 1908 came the declaration of independence of Bulgaria and the consummation of political dominion of Austria on Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The pressure of the Young Turks, who had rebelled in Macedonia, forced him in 1908 to promulgate a constitution, grant amnesty to political exiles and reconvene the Turkish Parliament, which was reopened that same year. At the beginning of 1909 it promoted a counterrevolution that ended in failure. He was forced to abdicate by the National Assembly in April 1909, and replaced by his brother Reshid Effendi, who was crowned with the name Mohamed V. Abdul Hamid had to go into exile in Thessaloniki.